Part 2: Arnav’s Epilogue and a Note

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please  read ‘Khushi’s Epilogue’ first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

¨Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of the ‘People in Power’! Our first guest tonight is Silicon Valley magnate and the man who made it to  Time magazine’s list of Fifty most influential U.S entrepreneurs, Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada. Welcome, Mr. Raizada!¨

 

 

 

¨Please call me Arnav. And it’s a pleasure to be here…¨

 

 

 

¨Yours’ is an amazing success story, Arnav. Everyone knows the tale by now, of how you’ve gone from entering the States on a work visa to be a security guard, to now owning one of Silicon Valley’s topmost companies, a leader in Internet Security solutions and other ventures. But I’m sure that it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for you, has it? In fact, just three years back, A.R Corp was rumored to be in dire straits. And yet here you stand, with your name on that all-powerful list that so many aspire to. So what’s your secret, Arnav?¨

 

 

¨Just perseverance and a refusal to believe that anything can get me down. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.¨

 

 

 

¨That kind of comment is exactly the reason why many have called you one of the most arrogant men in the business, haven’t they?¨

 

 

 

¨And usually they are those who have lost out to me in some way or the other, of course.¨

 

 

 

¨That’s something else you are known for…A.R has a reputation for being ruthless.¨

 

 

 

¨I just don’t believe in wasting any opportunity that comes my way, Ms. Kapoor. And if someone is weak, they lose out to the strong. It’s the very nature of survival.¨

 

 

 

¨Getting back to your revival  a few years back, tell us more about that time, Arnav. A.R did undergo a complete transformation , did it not?¨

 

 

¨A.R restructured itself and diversified into newer, more profitable areas . And the result is there for everyone to see.¨

 

 

 

¨And one of those ventures  was an enormously profitable Molecular Biology Research Lab set up and headed by your wife. Tell us more about that, Arnav.¨

 

 

 

¨A.R Research is one of our prime earners today, and yes, I credit my wife entirely for it’s phenomenal success. She joined us after a few years of working for another firm, and her experience and initiative have helped us take this research into as yet uncharted areas. She heads that company and now employs over four hundred research and development associates for it’s various projects. We are now contemplating making it global, just as we have done with our Internet Security Solutions.¨

 

 

 

¨The pride in your voice is palpable, Arnav. And of course, we have all heard about the elusive Mrs. Raizada. Given that you are such a prominent public  figure, how do you explain her absence from the social circuit? We see the occasional photograph in a public gathering, but she isn’t always at your side, is she?¨

 

 

 

¨Nor does she need to be, Ms. Kapoor. My wife has a life and priorities of her own, and she prefers to spend as much time as she possibly can with her family, when she isn’t at her Lab. As do I, but there are certain obligations that I have to fulfill, and that is why you will see me out and about much more than her.¨

 

 

 

¨You have been known to be extremely protective of your family. Not much is known about them, and there are virtually no photographs of your son…¨

 

 

 

¨That is by design, Ms. Kapoor. I want my son to grow up in an entirely normal fashion, and exposure to the limelight isn’t something that is going to help with that objective. When we spend time together as a family, we take every precaution to keep things private.¨

 

 

¨Yes, you have a reputation for being ruthless with the paparazzi. But don’t you think that doing so only fuels their eagerness to get the latest scoop?¨

 

 

 

¨It’s their job to do exactly that, and I understand. However, it is my job to protect my own, and I have always done everything I can to accomplish that. If that includes not answering intrusive questions and employing bodyguards at all times, then that’s what I’ll do. Have done, to be precise.¨

 

 

 

¨Does this have anything to do with what happened years ago, when your car was involved in an accident due to a brush with the paparazzi in Tahoe?¨

 

 

 

¨You have excellent sources, Ms. Kapoor. I did not think that something that happened over ten years ago would still hold your attention. But to answer your question, yes, that incident served as a reminder of just what I had to lose. And I’m not willing to let that happen again, ever.¨

 

 

 

¨So what does the future hold for A.R? What are your plans and ambitions for the company?¨

 

 

 

¨As I’ve said already, we intend to expand our research branch and set up ventures in a few other countries. In fact, we are looking at some opportunities right here in Delhi at the moment. ¨

 

 

 

¨Is that the only reason for your visit to India? We have heard rumors that your wife…¨

 

 

 

¨I have never confirmed or denied mere rumors, Ms. Kapoor. And I don’t intend to start now. My family is here on a visit to our ancestral home in Delhi , and expansion is something we are looking into while we are here. That’s all there is to it.¨

 

 

 

¨Finally, we would like to hear more about your gift to Stanford just before you left, Arnav. What was the reason behind that?¨

 

 

 

¨The ‘Devyani Memorial  Scholarship for International Students’ is  a fund we have set up in memory of my grandmother, who passed away this year. The purpose is to help those graduate and doctoral students who may otherwise not be able to afford studies in an exclusive university like Stanford. And we chose that institute because it is my wife’s alma mater. In fact, we intend to take this further and set up an educational foundation that will cover other colleges as well. We will be sending out a press release when we are ready , and in all probability, my wife will lead this initiative as well.¨

 

 

 

¨I’m sure that this will be a wonderful thing for many students who arrive there with dreams of studying at the best institutes, Arnav. We wish you all the best with that! We have more questions for you but before we continue, please join me in welcoming my other guest for tonight, acclaimed producer and head of India’s premier Film Studios, Mr…¨

 

 

 

 

______

 

 

 

I tune out whatever the T.V anchor is saying, and discreetly loosen my tie as the camera swings away from us to pan over the portly man in the kurta who is now entering the studio. The harsh lights of the recording studio are making me sweat, and I cannot wait to get away. 

I realize that freedom is still a good half hour away, and there are  a few more questions that I will need to answer before I am allowed to leave.

 

Once again, I curse my P.R team who thought that it was a good idea to announce the arrival of A.R.Corp in India by my appearance in India’s top-rated celebrity talk show. I usually avoid these interviews, but in this instance, I had been persuaded by my P.R people to do otherwise.

 

I take a deep breath, trying to concentrate on what the host is saying now. She talks to the other man for a few more minutes, and then turns to me with more predictable questions.

 

When the recording is finally complete, I wait only until the microphone wires are detached before thanking the host and walking out quickly. After  a briefing with my P.R head, I am finally led out to the black Mercedes where Dhruv awaits, alert as always to his surroundings and mine. He opens the door and I sigh in relief as I step into the air-conditioned exterior, a welcome relief after the lights of the studio.

 

 

¨Home, ASR?¨

 

 

 

¨Yes. And step on it, I can’t afford to be late.¨

 

 

 

Dhruv pulls out into the late  afternoon traffic, and I find myself cursing the show  again as I recall just why I am late today. The other guest had arrived two hours later than scheduled, and I had barely been able to keep myself in check when he had sauntered past without an apology to me or the production team.

 

As a result of his tardiness, I am pressed for time as we head towards Shantivan, the congested streets offering no respite as Dhruv tries hard to get through.

 

 

I lean back in my seat, closing my eyes as my thoughts go back to Nani. 

Her death has struck us hard, coming as a horrific shock when doctors had given her a clean bill of health just a few months back. 

I find myself  feeling grateful that I had been given those months with Nani. She had started making longer and longer trips to the States after her great -grand kids had arrived, and the happiness in her eyes was something that I will remember forever.

 

But now she is gone, and Shantivan is empty…a desolate reminder of the family that had once lived and laughed here. 

It was Khushi’s idea to come here at this time, and I had decided to add my expansion plans to the agenda at the same time.

 

Khushi…

 

 

As always, even the thought of her puts a smile on my face, and I find myself grinning like an idiot as I recall the plans for today.

 

If I’m not too late, of course.

 

 

 

¨How much further, Dhruv?¨

 

 

¨Ten minutes, I think. If we don’t get held up at these signals…¨

 

 

 

 

I curse under my breath, then pull out my phone and debate calling her to let her know that I’m going to be late. A moment later, I put the phone back in my pocket.

I am still not brave enough to face a furious Khushi, even after a decade of being married to her.

 

 

Ten years…

 

 

It’s hard to believe that ten whole years have passed since I saw her for the very first time, in this exact same city. 

Ten years that have been filled with laughter and arguments and passion…and yes, heartbreak and despair as well.

 

I pull out the phone again, clicking it open to see the family portrait that serves as my wallpaper.

I am standing in front of our home in Palo Alto, and Khushi is seated on the bench before me.

 

And straddling the back of the bench with a mischievous grin in place is our son, Advay Raizada.

 

My pride and joy…and the reason why we went through hell six years ago.

 

 

I look out the window, but this time, I don’t see the heavy crush of vehicles or the passing storefronts.

Instead, my mind serves up the horrified reminder of what it felt like to stand in the hospital corridor on that fateful night six years ago, staring at the middle-aged obstetrician who was explaining what had just happened inside.

 

 

 

¨You know that we had suspected a placental abruption an hour back, Mr. Raizada. The placenta had started tearing away from her uterus and the bleeding was very heavy, so we had decided on an emergency C-section…¨

 

 

¨I know all that! My…our son is fine, isn’t he? The pediatric resident just came out and told me that he was, despite being born a few weeks early…¨

 

 

 

¨Your son is doing well, considering the circumstances of his birth. He will still need to be kept in the NICU, though. But that isn’t what we need to discuss at the moment. What I need to tell you is this: after I had delivered the child, we were unable to get the bleeding to stop. Despite our best measures, your wife’s condition continued to deteriorate and we had no choice but to perform a hysterectomy…¨

 

 

 

The implications of that word hadn’t really sunk in then.

My world had come to a halt when the doctor had told me that they were taking Khushi to the ICU, where she would be monitored through the night.

A night of hell, for me…as I watched her pale, still face through the glass…as I prayed to a God that I didn’t believe in , for the first time in my life.

 

I still remember falling to my knees in gratitude and sheer relief when they had finally informed me that she was out of danger. A week later, we were allowed to take our son home and for some time, we allowed ourselves to bask in the miracle of his presence.

 

Until the truth had hit us, and hit us hard…when we realized that Khushi could never get pregnant again.

 

She had been depressed, could see that clearly, even though she had hidden it bravely and thrown herself into caring for Advay. He had become the light of her life…and mine.

 

Over the years, we have managed to come to terms with the fact that we will not have any more children. Advay fills our lives with joy and laughter, and we have convinced ourselves that he is all we will ever need.

 

Or so I had thought.

 

 

When Khushi had planned this trip to India, she had hesitantly informed me one night that she had an ulterior motive for going there. 

My first reaction had been disbelief when she had asked if we could do what Anjali Di had done all those years ago…adopt a child in India.

 

I did not know if I was ready for that…ready to bring home a child that wasn’t my own. The entire concept was hard to grasp, even though I had known and loved Di’s adopted daughter for years now.

 

And then Khushi had dropped the other bombshell.

 

 

She had told me how it had terrified her when the doctors had asked us to be prepared for developmental delays in Advay, a result of his traumatic birth. We have been lucky enough to escape that consequence, since Advay is now a healthy, happy six year old.

 

But Khushi had never  forgotten that he might have been physically or mentally challenged in some way.

 

The plight of such children concerns her greatly, and she has come to the realization that we might have the means to make one such child’s life normal in some ways, by giving him or her a home and the family that they have never had.

And since coming here, she has approached several adoption agencies looking for one such child, and had finally found an orphanage where a five month old baby girl had just been registered. 

A baby that was born with congenital blindness…

 

I  look down at my hands, only to find that they are clenched tight.

 

Khushi’s heart is set on adopting the little girl,and I am know that I will do anything to give her what she wants…as always.

 

And yet, there is a splinter of doubt in my heart that I just cannot dislodge…

 

 

Am I ready to take up this responsibility?

 

 

Will I even be able to?

 

 

 

Over the years, I have learned to open myself up to all the joys and trials and rewards of being a husband and a father. I have learned to give myself freely , and to accept their feelings in return.

 

I have changed…and I like this new Arnav Singh Raizada, because he is  a man who isn’t afraid of letting go and taking chances.

 

But is this one step too far?

 

 

A child such as this one deserves all the care in the world, and I don’t know if I can do that…

 

I have spoken to Khushi about this, of course. And she has assured me that such doubts are normal when we are contemplating an unconventional mode of action. 

She has the confidence in me, even when I don’t…

 

It has been the same through the years.

When A.R ran into difficulties a  few years ago and I was at my wits’ end, she was the one who stood by my side, willing me on…urging me to fight…and finally coming on board with a plan to diversify into research, something that has paid rich dividends over the years.

 

She was the one who gave me the courage to deal with Nani’s death…yes, she has been there with me through it all.

 

And yet, is this going to be enough?

 

 

Is the little girl going to find a good father in me, or will she find me lacking in some way?

 

I am still pondering those questions when I find that we have pulled up outside Shantivan…it’s back door, to be precise.

 

 

¨ASR, you need to get in there now!¨

 

 

Dhruv’s panicked tone makes me glance at my watch, and I realize that he is right. The drive back home has taken longer than we had expected, and I am now going to be late unless I dash upstairs soon…

 

Wrenching open the back door, I head for the stairs, and start thanking my lucky stars that there isn’t anyone about.

 

 

¨Bitwa?¨

 

 

I stop in my tracks, my mother-in-laws hesitant voice coming from somewhere in front.

 

 

 

¨Yes?¨

 

 

 

¨Are you just coming in now?! Khushi is ready, if she finds out that…¨

 

 

 

¨She won’t. I’m just going to run up and change.¨

 

 

 

She smiles, and shakes her head at me.

 

Over the years, we have developed  a relationship of mutual respect, cemented by her frequent visits every year. She had come down with Nani most of the times, preferring to return to her home in Bangalore despite being urged by Khushi and me to live permanently with us in the States.

 

I find myself grimacing as I remember why.

 

 

Payal.

 

 

Khushi’s sister has had a tough time through the past ten years, and their mother has done everything she could to be by her side. The relationship between the sisters has settled into an uneasy truce, but Khushi hasn’t been able to help as much as she would have , years ago.

Payal has been in and out of treatment for depression, even after the birth of her twins four years ago. Since then, she has confided in her mother that her marriage with Akash has broken down completely, and that they have been staying together only for their childrens’ sake.

Khushi has been worried for her sister, but just like before, she knows that only her sister can mend the relationship with her husband. On this visit, she has even asked her mother to see if Payal and Akash can be persuaded to accompany us to the States, in the hope that they might find the time and opportunity to give their marriage another chance.

Her mother is reluctant to do this, though, and the matter has been put off until a few more days.

 

 

 

 

¨Bitwa, you’d better hurry…¨

 

 

I nod quickly and turn to the stairs, only to find that Di is coming down with a bunch of flowers on one arm.

 

 

¨Arnav! You’re still here!¨

 

 

I sigh. ¨Long story, Di. I’m going to shower and change now. Is everyone ready?¨

 

 

 

¨Samhita and Shyam are outside already. I’m just going there myself, I had just called Jane to check on how Sheetal and Laksmiji were doing…¨

 

 

I smile at the mention of her old parakeet couple. Age has mellowed Sheetal, but Di still loves her just as much as she did all those years ago, and so does her daughter.

 

 

 

¨Gotta go, Di. And stall Khushi if you see her…¨

 

 

Minutes later, I am in my bedroom, undressing on the way as I head into the shower.

I lather up quickly and rinse off in a hurry before toweling myself dry and walking out the closet, where a black bandgala jacket awaits in all it’s Lucknowi glory.

 

 

 

I dress myself quickly and run a comb through my hair, just as the door opens.

 

 

 

¨Dad?¨

 

 

 

I whirl around to face my son, a miniature version of me with his dark eyes and darker hair…or so Khushi claims. Personally, I feel like he has inherited that mischievous gleam in his eye from his mother.

 

 

¨Did you just come home now? Mom thought that you were here in your room hours ago…¨

 

 

 

¨If we don’t tell her, she’ll never know. Now come on, let’s get…¨

 

 

 

¨You’re going to lie to Mom?¨

 

 

 

I look over at him, and yes, that mischief is readily apparent.

 

 

I sigh.

 

 

¨No, Advay. I’m just not going to…tell her the truth. It isn’t the same thing.¨

 

 

 

¨And what about me?¨

 

 

 

¨You?¨

 

 

 

¨I can’t…not tell Mom the truth. She’ll figure it out like she always does. And then, no more transformers for a month.¨

 

 

 

I stare down at him in disbelief.

 

 

 

¨What the hell are you saying?¨

 

 

 

¨Don’t swear, Dad. That’s one more thing on the list of what I can’t tell Mom.¨

 

 

 

His entire body is quivering with mischievous anticipation now,and I glance at my watch again, knowing that I have to play along before it’s too late.

 

 

 

¨I don’t have time for games, boy. Tell me what you want to keep your mouth closed.¨

 

 

 

He strolls down towards me, his mouth quirking in a smile that is an echo of my own.

 

 

 

¨I am not blackmailing you, Dad. I just want something in return for the transformers I might lose out on…¨

 

 

 

¨That’s the definition of blackmail, you little monster. Now out with it!¨

 

 

Suddenly, all the mischief is gone.

His eyes are serious and…sad?

 

 

I go up to him immediately, my heart pounding in concern.

 

 

¨Advay? What is it? What do you want? You know that I will give you anything you ask for, right?¨

 

 

 

He stares at me for a long moment, then blurts out impulsively.

 

 

 

¨Can I have that  sister you and Mom were talking about?¨

 

 

 

I still in surprise, knowing that we haven’t shared this with him yet.

 

 

 

¨A…sister? Do you really want one?¨

 

 

He shrugs, feigning nonchalance.

 

 

 

¨I thought that it would be nice. You know, like Samhita…only smaller. I could teach her to play with my transformers. Samhita won’t, she only likes those barbies and…yeah. It would be fun to have a new sister.¨

 

 

 

In that instant, I know what I have to do.

All  my doubts and fears and insecurities are wiped away in one moment, vanquished by one little boy’s appeal for a sibling…in his belief that this is right.

 

But there’s something else he needs to know.

 

 

 

¨Advay, this sister…she won’t be the same as Samhita. Not entirely, because she is…¨

 

 

 

¨…blind . I know. I heard that word and I asked Nani what it means. I don’t mind, Dad. I can hold her hand until she’s older, then we’ll get her a special dog. They’re cool, I saw it on Kids’ discovery.¨

 

 

 

I smile at his obvious solution, knowing that in his heart, it’s just that simple.

He wants this sister, and nothing else matters.

 

 

I know now that he isn’t like me at all.

His generous spirit is his mothers’.

 

 

¨We’ll talk to your Mom, okay? And then we’ll go see her together and find out if she wants to come  home with us.¨

 

 

 

He nods enthusiastically, and then his eyes light up.

 

 

 

¨Dad? You should see Mom! She’s all dressed up and she looks like a princess! Not the disney one, she looks like a …a rajk…¨

 

 

 

¨…a rajkumaari?¨

 

 

¨Yes! Like one of those paintings in the museum we went to yesterday. She’s awesome!¨

 

 

 

I smile again, then straighten up at the reminder.

 

 

 

¨She’s going to be mad if we stay here any longer. Why don’t you go down to your Nani and I’ll follow in a minute?¨

 

 

Advay nods quickly and rushes out the door, and I walk out too, heading towards the other end of the corridor.

 

My feet take me towards the door at the other end, even though I know that I shouldn’t be here.

 

 

I knock once, push open the door, and all it takes is just one glimpse.

 

Everything falls away, and I forget all the pain of the past, and the uncertainties of the future.

 

 

They just don’t matter anymore… because I have seen the sight that I have been craving all day.

 

 

 

Khushi.

 

 

My wife stands before me, dressed in a  maroon bridal lehenga. The design is simple, yet exquisite. A strand of diamonds rests at her throat, and as she whirls to face me, her red gemstone bangles chime wildly.

 

 

¨Arnav? ¨

 

 

¨Hi.¨

 

 

 

She sighs.

 

 

 

¨You just couldn’t stay away, could you? Even after I asked you to.¨

 

 

 

I walk up to her, then take her hand in mine for a gentle kiss.

 

 

 

¨I didn’t want to do anything too traditional, after all. It doesn’t suit our relationship.¨

 

 

 

¨Arnav…we are just about to go down to the mandap and take our pheras. You can’t get more traditional than that!¨

 

 

 

¨It’s just a small ceremony before our families, Khushi. What are we calling it again? A renewal of vows?¨

 

 

 

¨It’s not a renewal. It’s the first time that we are making them, as you very well know. And I thought that you were okay with this?¨

 

 

 

I smile, then take her in my arms.

 

 

 

¨I wanted you to have this, Khushi. Ever since the day  you said you wanted to.¨

 

 

 

¨I never said anything of the sort!¨

 

 

 

¨Not with words, you didn’t. But do you think I haven’t learned to read you over the years? We may have had an unconventional relationship and broken a few rules to reach where we are today, but I know that you haven’t given up on this one dream. You cannot lie with your eyes, Khushi. When Advay was looking at Di’s wedding pictures and asked why you didn’t have any in a wedding dress, I saw the flash of regret that you couldn’t quite hide. You…you have given me the freedom to do what I want…to be with you the way I want to over the years. And you have liked that freedom too…but there’s still a part of you that wanted it this way. I could see that. And it might have taken me a decade, but I was going to make sure you got what you wanted.¨

 

 

 

¨You did all this because of…a fleeting glimpse you saw in my eyes?¨

 

 

 

¨Yes. You know that I always will, don’t you?¨

 

 

 

¨I…I thought that you were doing this because it was Naniji’s last wish! To see us married in Shantivan…¨

 

 

 

I shrug.

 

 

 

¨Well, there’s that too. But I wouldn’t have done it if it was only for that reason. Nani asked us to consider it, she would never have forced us to do so. I only arranged all this because…because I never want to see that look again, Khushi. The one where you secretly yearn for something…¨

 

 

 

¨You’re a crazy man, Mr.Raizada.¨

 

 

Her eyes are swimming with tears now, and I wipe them away gently.

 

 

 

¨And one more thing. We are going ahead with that adoption.¨

 

 

 

¨We…are? And you are…okay with it?¨

 

 

 

¨I’m more than okay with it. I don’t even know why I had all those doubts anymore. If a little boy can have the strength to do this, then so can I.¨

 

 

 

¨Little boy? What are you…¨

 

 

 

¨Long story, Khushi. Let’s get this ceremony over with, then we can sit down and discuss this in detail. Now come…¨

 

 

 

I take her hand and start walking towards the door, but she pulls me to  a stop.

 

 

 

¨Wait. I didn’t thank you for your wedding gift. And I’m not talking about the diamonds.¨

 

 

 

I grin, thinking about the tiny little excuses for lingerie that I have bought  for tonight.

 

 

 

¨You’re welcome. And you can wear them tonight, when we…¨

 

 

 

Her lips curve into a wicked, enticing smile.

 

 

 

¨Tonight? What makes you think I’m not wearing them right now, Arnav?¨

 

 

 

All the blood in my body rushes south at the image, and I pull her into my arms.

 

 

 

¨Show me.¨

 

 

 

 

Her eyes widen in shock.

 

 

¨Now?¨

 

 

 

¨Yes. Right this minute.¨

 

 

 

¨Arnav, the muhurat is in fifteen minutes and we can’t be late!¨

 

 

 

¨Then it will have to be  a quickie, won’t it? Like that time in the jet…¨

 

 

 

¨You are a lecherous old man, Mr. Raizada.¨

 

 

 

I tighten my grip around her waist, crushing her breasts against my chest and making sure that she feels my growing erection against her body.

 

 

 

 

¨I’m forty, Mrs. Raizada. Still young enough to possess a more than adequate…shaatir dimaag.¨

 

 

 

Her eyes widen further, if that is even possible.

 

 

 

¨You still remember that

 

 

 

¨I haven’t forgotten a single thing you’ve ever said to me, Khushi.¨

 

 

 

She parts her lips to respond, but I stop her by the simple expedient of crushing her mouth with mine.

 

She stills for a moment, but then her arms wind around my neck and she is lost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are late for our own wedding.

 

Everyone stares at the bride’s mussed hair and disheveled dupatta, but neither of us cares.

 

 

She looks up at me as we sit down before the fire, and a secretive smile plays on her lips.

 

 

I’m pretty sure that no traditional bride has ever looked at her husband in quite that way, and so I wink.

 

 

 

She looks down at the fire to hide her blush, and I look down at it too.

 

 

Every moment from the past ten years flashes before my eyes, and one single question stands out.

 

 

 

Have I found my love?

 

 

Is this my love…my partner…my wife?

 

 

 

I shake my head, knowing that those words barely even begin to describe what she means to me.

 

 

I look up at her again, and find that Advay is now seated in his mother’s lap, much to the Pandit’s chagrin.

 

 

 

Traditional?

 

 

Never.

 

 

I stare at my little family, and think about the one who will be joining us soon.

 

 

And then I meet the hazel eyes that made all this happen.

 

 

In that moment, I have my answer.

 

 

She isn’t just my wife, or soul-mate…or someone I love.

 

 

 

She is my entire reason for living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*****************THE END******************

 

 

 

 

 

 

A/N:


To every single reader who has been with me since I posted my first story, every silent reader who has enjoyed my writing, every new reader who has joined me for a new tale, every single one of you who has taken the time to drop in a comment, to all the members of the Baaraati CC, ..thank you, thank you so very much.
Words feel inadequate here really. Will you all ever know how you have inspired and encouraged someone you have never met to step out of her comfort zone and write fiction, something that she had never ever done before?I really, truly hope that you all are aware that every single word that I have written was dedicated to you, to every single reader out  there.Thank you for the feedback, positive, critical, humorous, and speculative. Thank you for bearing with all the delays, and thank you for giving me the freedom to indulge my creativity. I feel incredibly lucky to have had your support for so long…
It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that I will not be writing fan-fiction after my last Tale for ‘ArHi Tales: Khwahishein’, which will be posted within this next week.This decision is not something that I have made lightly. My asli duniya requires my complete and undivided attention at the moment, and this is one of the reasons why I have decided to stop writing ArHi fanfics after the Tale. However, I do have some ideas about some other genres that I am planning to experiment with, if I find the time to do so, of course. If and when that happens, I will come back to this blog and I truly hope that you will support me as you have been doing until now.
But until then, it is goodbye to Arnav and Khushi for me. Saying this is very, very difficult for me, and I can only hope that you will understand. They are the only characters who have inspired me to write, and saying farewell isn’t easy …I know that this will disappoint you all, and I sincerely apologize for doing this. 
I will be taking down all my stories from the forum shortly, and will not be active there after posting ‘A Tale of New Beginnings’. However, I will answer all PMs and scraps for a few more weeks and will not be deactivating my account.
This blog and the blogs for my other stories will always remain open, unless I have to temporarily close them for editing. 
I would love to stay in touch with anyone who is interested in doing so, you can  comment on this blog, follow me on Twitter@patronus31, or email me : expel2012@gmail.com.

The last two ArHi stories that I will be writing are :

‘A Tale of New Beginnings’ for ‘Khwahishein’  here:
 http://arhitalesbyexpelandthemagpie.wordpress.com/


And a deleted scene from ‘Shaadi’ , which will go up here: 
 https://shaadibyexpel.wordpress.com/excerpt-mandap/

Here is the link to my blog index, which contains links to everything that I have written so far:

http://expelspells.wordpress.com/



I will see you all  in a few days with these last stories and will be active on the forum until then.

Will I ever come back to Arnav and Khushi? I cannot honestly answer that at this point. If I ever do, at some point in the future, I hope and pray that my wonderful readers will return and support me as before.
Once again, thank you for being there for me…I think I love you all!


-Juhi.




P.S: For the first time ever, I would like to request each one of you to leave me a comment here , even if it is just one line. It will be an immense source of inspiration to me to have this permanent record of everyone who has read this story.Thank you!
P.P.S: After a long break, I am back with a new ArHi FF, here is the link:
https://storybyexpel.wordpress.com/
 Hope to see you there!
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402 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dart4
    Sep 11, 2017 @ 19:50:55

    Wow! Juhi – what a story and what a conclusion!!!!no words are adequate to describe this work of art.

    Its just unbelievable good!
    Thanks to you for giving us all such a treasure.

    Like

    Reply

  2. Saiasmi
    Sep 03, 2017 @ 16:29:06

    Wow! Juhi… was an awesome journey of self discovery for both A and K in your story. Quiet truly close to reality. All your characters and emotions were relatable. We have all at some point met someone or the other who have been through some of the myriad of emotions your story entails 🙂

    your words took me to an arshi universe so compelling, that i just couldn’t put the tab down once i started reading it. I did comment on the progress of the story in the initial chapters, but as chapters progressed, the equations got intense and the compulsion to read through had me move to the next chapters without commenting.

    Thats when i realised that this story will be one of the most memorable ones i have come across. And that i’d rather make a comment/note at the end of the story. Its beautiful and Kudos to the way you put them together.

    Will look forward to reading the rest of your writing 🙂

    Like

    Reply

  3. cutiepieash
    Aug 28, 2017 @ 18:55:22

    Some stories make me speechless like this one.
    I have read this story before but couldn’t comment on it.
    But now I just don’t know what should I say.
    Like you said in this story that love is a very small word for this masterpiece of writing. This out of the world.
    This shaadi story was the best,something that will make us realize many things while being matrimony bond.
    ❤❤❤❤

    Like

    Reply

  4. Kuzali
    Jul 25, 2017 @ 07:36:43

    Miss your words, your writing, your cliff, your wit, your sarcasm, your ……..
    To sum up miss you a lot! Bas!

    Like

    Reply

  5. njtulip25
    Jul 24, 2017 @ 04:41:52

    Nice story 👍

    Like

    Reply

  6. A_wanderer
    Jul 23, 2017 @ 08:38:13

    Thank you for writing this! A beautiful tale with lot of emotions! I loved it. I remember how I searched this story everywhere after seeing your index in India forums. And two days before how I suddenly found it. I am more than happy to read this. Thank you. You are a incredible writer. The way you can explain everything every situation or emotion makes me feel that alive. Please do write someday whenever you will be free.
    P. S . Now we have Advay Singh Raizada Too. Not like the sweet and innocent boy in the story but more like his father.

    Like

    Reply

  7. awroneema
    Jun 09, 2017 @ 10:34:45

    Hi Juhi… How r u doing…. It’s been years since the most joyous Shaadi I have ever attended, but the essence of the story is so vivid as if it is still happening… I miss my fellow besties as well… Sigh… Today I m here suddenly after watching trailer of IPKKND-3 where Barun is back as Advay Singh Raizada… Well that’s what u named our junior ASR of Shaadi.. 💓

    Well when my heart is cringing with just the thought of ASR will romance any one else other than KKGSR… sigh.. And for that matter rabbi vet will play on some one else other than SaRun..

    Well trust me in spite of that I m ready to take on the journey… Just bcoz at some point u made it possible for us dream about the untold story of ASR junior or their grantchildren..

    Just holding on to that I m giving it a try… Though it’s not gonna be the continuation yet let me make some khayali pulse for the sake of sanity…

    Thanks.. Once again.. For penning down such a lovely story…. And request u to keep the blog open for forever so that we can relish the gone moments whenever possible… Thank u dear…

    PS. I dunno why u left an arhi fan fiction in the middle so unlike Oi f u… Hope u r really well..

    Like

    Reply

  8. Mansi
    May 16, 2017 @ 08:39:33

    Hey!
    This is the second time I’ve read this story but mere words will never be enough to convey my emotions right now.
    I just have my gratitude to offer for writing this beautiful story and sharing it here.
    Love
    Mansi

    Like

    Reply

  9. Varna
    Apr 24, 2017 @ 14:23:53

    Hi Juhi,

    Just came across this story and it is awesome.No real villains but just human emotions.

    I have read Shattered too and felt it was brilliant.

    Keep up your excellent writing.

    Varna

    Like

    Reply

  10. europa2791
    Apr 07, 2017 @ 21:35:09

    I came across this story in a hall of fame of ipkknd fanfics… And I sure am glad I did. I was hooked from the first chapter. I like how there were no unnecessary misunderstandings or traditional villains. Everything was so natural , all the relationships, especially shyam being a loving husband to Anjali! Good writing keep writing!

    Like

    Reply

  11. Priyanka
    Mar 25, 2017 @ 01:04:16

    This is the best story I have ever read and I am pretty sure I can keep on reading it again and again…arhi are just so perfect for each other in this one

    Like

    Reply

  12. Priyanka
    Mar 25, 2017 @ 01:02:48

    you are a really awesome writer…I read your story from starting to end without a break and was completely hooked…I must say you must publish a book 🙂

    Like

    Reply

  13. Anonymous
    Mar 20, 2017 @ 03:07:08

    Juhi,re read Shaadi once again,this is my third time.what a lovely story!famed Shatir Dimaag of ASR has been the subject of several stories,debates,drabbles,arguments among fans during IPK show time,but your use of SD has earned posterity.It was unique/quirky/whimsical that from now on whenever I think of ASR s SD, going to automatically smile thinking of
    Shaadi.Thanks for the memories.can never forget Arshi even after so many years.bye.tc

    Like

    Reply

  14. nccrwrt
    Mar 04, 2017 @ 20:22:15

    Hi Juhi, Thank you for writing this awesome FF!!!

    Like

    Reply

  15. Dikshi
    Feb 22, 2017 @ 07:54:15

    This truly is a wonderful story, one that had touched my heart. You have wrote it very beautifully. I had completed it just in one whole day. It feels like I can read more. You have portrayed the characters of arnav n khushi in such a way that one couldn’t stop loving them. This fan fiction is going to be one of my favorite ff I’ve ever read. I am not going to forget this one. Alll the best for future!!

    Like

    Reply

  16. vithyananoo
    Jan 27, 2017 @ 06:42:41

    The whole journey of reading this story was beautiful. Excellent writing and thank you for sharing it with us..

    Like

    Reply

  17. usha21aug
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 10:09:55

    What an amazing writer you are….thanks for giving us such wonderful stories..

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  18. monalisaa1
    Dec 31, 2016 @ 17:15:32

    Wow i came across this story by some recommendation of readers but I was worth it. Amazing from the concept to the writing ur skills are to die for n so is the story. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  19. mahrusweety
    Nov 16, 2016 @ 14:46:13

    Beautiful Awesome uodstes

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  20. coderlady
    Oct 03, 2016 @ 16:20:52

    Loved the story. The seduction at the beginning and the emotions in the later parts. This was one awesome story. I have loved all your work in fact.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  21. veronicaa19
    Jun 23, 2016 @ 04:24:16

    It was amazing. I can guarantee you that its one of my top favorites. Whenever I thought that the story is getting boring, suddenly there would be a twist which would keep me intact to the story… It was soo amazing that I read each and every word without missing a single word… Thank you for the amazing story that u provided us.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  22. Vibha
    Jun 05, 2016 @ 15:02:55

    I’ve absolutely loved your writing, you are an amazing writer and as a reader i’m hooked on your each word. It’s a shame that you won’t be continuing.
    All The Best! and i hope you return to arshi at some point later:)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  23. Popstar04
    Jun 04, 2016 @ 14:01:30

    Just fabulous..this story is amazing…I have started reading it and couldnt move before finishing it.
    You are an amazing writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  24. tashi26
    Jun 03, 2016 @ 17:59:58

    Hi juhi….just finished reading shaadi….and I wonder why I missed reading it before when I have actually read almost all your works…

    I like your stories as they are different with a mystery which is really hard to guess….but Shaadi is one of your works thats just amazing….and I wish you could write more fictions on like this one….

    Really loved it….

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  25. bhavi
    May 26, 2016 @ 18:03:11

    Juhi
    This is one story which i have read and reread it many times and yet not tired of it.
    The heights of it is everytime i can not leave it incomplete and have to read it i one shot one reading.
    That is a power of this story to me. The definition of love shown here is beyond any dictionary.
    Thanks for writing this story.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  26. ipkndlover75
    May 07, 2016 @ 07:46:38

    Enjoyed reading this story again…love your writing… And currently enjoying “Story’…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  27. swapnat1963
    Mar 29, 2016 @ 15:38:31

    Lovely story Juhi, can’t seem stop reading your stories of my favorite couple. waiting for your new stories Good Luck with everything in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  28. yomamma0071
    Mar 12, 2016 @ 17:02:13

    It saddens me to know that a writer of your caliber would stop spinning these wonderful tales about the characters that initially brought us all together. Thank you for all the great stories you have shared with your readers, and good luck to you always. Hope to see you around on either IF or this blog.
    (IF- Yomamma0071)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • expelliarmus31
      Mar 16, 2016 @ 20:53:15

      Hello there,

      Thank you for reading Shaadi!
      I have returned from a long hiatus with a new story, the link is on the first page of this blog. Would love to see you there,

      -Juhi

      Like

      Reply

  29. Radhika.S
    Mar 02, 2016 @ 17:53:25

    Hi Juhi, …..what a story !!!!! Let me applaud you on your brilliant writing. I still can’t get over the emotional roller coaster ride i went through reading “Shaadi “. I stumbled upon it accidentally in one of the FB pages and i”m glad i did. Would like to thank the uploader for the same, otherwise would’ve missed a beautiful story narrated wonderfully. The way the story was moulded is completely unpredictable….having read so many Arshi FFs by many different writers. the storyline left me in complete awe of your ” SHAATIR DIMAAG” if i may say so ( meant as a compliment ). Your narration of the story is very gripping, couldn’t stop till the End. I’m glad that atleast after a decade Arnav did realise the compromise she made against her deeprooted wish / longing for a traditional shaadi for the sake of their relationship and did return the favour. Let me congratulate you once again for an unconventional theme and wish you all the best for your future endeavours….Radhika.S.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  30. Bibliobibulus
    Feb 25, 2016 @ 16:12:38

    You had me in tears throughout. What a beautiful, beautiful concept, the adoption of a child with difficulties. Just melted my heart when Advay asked for his little sister. The pheras were a beautiful touch. This entire story has brought me much joy. I couldn’t put it down, and finished it in two days. This is my first experience of your work, and I have to tell you, you’re an amazing writer. You weave a wonderful tale, and you managed to keep the pace going throughout. Well done, and thank you for two enjoyable days of reading.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  31. bookworm4lyf1
    Jan 30, 2016 @ 19:22:29

    Amazing, the way you wrote the scenes and made the characters come to life.
    Be proud of your writing, after I read a scene from I need to close my eyes to see the scene occurring that is how powerful your writing is.
    Loved the story line, sad regarding the broken sister relationship.

    Love to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  32. chanyaforever
    Nov 26, 2015 @ 14:11:01

    Juhi, I can only say that all the comments below and all the positiv opinions on this story are true. Hats off for this beautiful and amazing story! I think this is beside Tina’s stories by far one of the best I have ever read.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Maybe if possible and convenient with the “asli duniya” please don’t stop writing Arshi stories 🙂 And now that there are more episodes of Arnav and Khushi coming their way after 3 years, we really need exceptional writers like you.
    Anyways all the best and take care.
    Cheers, Chanya (IF Chanyaforever)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  33. Ayrah
    Nov 04, 2015 @ 16:03:32

    heyy..wow you are just amazing. i ve read your other works on IF as well, but man this piece is just brilliant. so close to reality addressing the innate problems that arise in a relationship without having an actual vamp, insecurities and all.
    loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  34. jigthakkar
    Jul 22, 2015 @ 21:40:56

    Hi Juhi, Just found your blog after a long time and re-reading your stories again. Some I have read and some I would be reading for the first time…and I am full of anticipation!! Thanks for your Arnav and Khushi with us…you are an amazing writer!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  35. ipkndlover75
    Jun 07, 2015 @ 14:57:51

    Thanks Juhi….for all your Arshi fanfic… Although it makes me really sad to know that this was your last one….I just hope u come back at some point whenever you are ready…. Would love to read some thing else too…loved the Arshi in this story….n Sheetal too…it was truly beautiful… N taking pheras after 10 year was so beautiful n heart wrenching too!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  36. Anonymous
    May 10, 2015 @ 08:35:36

    I love Shaadi more than any other ff…read it minimum 5 times till now…!!!
    Thanks for this wonderful story….!!!
    Its just that I could not comment earlier because of my busy schedule and exams…!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  37. sharuag
    May 05, 2015 @ 13:01:11

    Your last words are very hurtful. Because, I am only reading Arshi stories, they are the only one I got attached to in India Forum.

    Anyways, we have to respect your decision, but hope you will continue to write. As you are one fine writer that I have come across.

    I am a bookworm, but, I don;t like love stories, however, I could not closedown my tab, when it comes to Arshi stories. The characters you writers have created in Arshi stories have some sort of magnetic reaction.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  38. kashish9
    Jan 15, 2015 @ 19:56:40

    I just completed reading this story of urs nd this is my first story of urs that i readed nd u r an amazing writer
    ..i really am feeling bad that u r going to stop writing about arshi bt i guess u have ur reason’s to do that anyway i just wish u to return. Back u us soon
    …..wish u luck fr ur future

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  39. naushi78
    Dec 29, 2014 @ 07:14:59

    Juhi, Miss your stories . Ho sakay tu kuch naya likho please

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  40. hearme21
    Dec 16, 2014 @ 23:14:48

    Juhi,
    Take a bow girl! In my humble opinion, this is by far your best work on AK. The story is simple, there are no twists as such and yet you have etched the characters with so much depth, I felt like I was watching the story unfold in real time. The problems Arnav and Khushi face are very real and something that is very easy to relate to. I love how you kept away from cliches (like one of them getting into a near fatal accident in order for the other to realize how precious he/she is.) I love the solution you came up with in order to make sure AK are on the same page as far as commitment is concerned, living by their own rules and not trying to conform to antiquated rules of marriage and commitment.
    And yet the bond they share is so beautifully depicted; when they fight, you share the pain, when they are apart, you ache with them. And this dear, is only due to your talent as a writer. I was really sad to see you are taking a hiatus from writing. I hope in time you return and seriously wish you find time to practice and hone your writing skills.
    Once again a big thank you for sharing this story with us ! 🙂
    Padmaja

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  41. Sublime Fantasy
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 05:38:44

    You know what makes me wonder in amazement, the most? That I’ve in common something with you, without having come across this blog or your stories at IF. Our blog design. 😛 I know it’s nothing much, I’ve not posted anything on my dormant excuse of a blog. Initially I thought since I was logged in, I was seeing your stories in my preferred format since mine was chosen to be this way (stupid, I know). Then I logged out and the format didn’t change. Surprise. I was so darn glad to have realised you chose a theme that I did, too. I can’t tell you how special I felt and how I marveled over the fact, for days. Like an achievement. 🙂

    Coming to Shaadi, Juhi.. It’s been a wonderfully woven story that needs to have as many readers, as possible. I’m in awe of your writing prowess and moved by the plethora of emotions I’ve experienced for the adorable duo. The various phases that go into cementing a stronger relationship, the journey that builds the strength over the course of time, not giving up on each other, fighting for the same, honesty and trust being the building blocks and foundations to form a bond between two people. What a beautiful, beautiful read this has been. Thank you so much! I’ve absolutely had a fantastic time, not at all feeling the story being dragged at any point. I just didn’t want it to end. I wished I could read on without having to read the End. My only regret, in all earnestness and sincerity is how I couldn’t get to know Expelliarmus(Juhi) when you were actively around and were posting this Incredible piece of work. I could’ve had an amazing person for life, as a dear friend. For me, one’s writing reflects their heart, their emotions, their way to see and deal with situations of life and their beliefs. Of course, I don’t judge them based on that, no. Because it might not be true for everyone and all the time; but one cannot write something with so much devotion and dedication if they don’t believe in it, can they? If they don’t realise the depth of the words and feelings that are placed in their works, they can’t produce such beautiful works, based on talent alone. There needs to be a connection one has with their works, only then does it strike a chord with the readers. You’ve done a commendable job on Shaadi and I’d be ever so glad to have found you, a little too late, no less. I’d also like to thank the Shaatir Dimaagh who challenged you to write something on an idea like this. 😀
    I heart you for accepting that challenge and giving ‘Shaadi’ to all of us, Arshi fanatics! ❤

    There's so much more to say and I probably will, someday. InShaAllah. For now, I'm too overwhelmed by all the reading at one go. So this will have to do, for now. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  42. loves_aishu(IF)
    Dec 03, 2014 @ 22:55:12

    You know I always came across the CC Baraatis, and I used to wonder, which FF it is for, but never found out. Actually used to think that read all of your S series, but had missed this!!! This was amazing, it just showed that each to his own, just because it isn’t traditional or conventional it isn’t wrong. What everyone has is special and it can never be the same for others!! Just fabulous!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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